The Lesson Toni Bambara

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“The Lesson”: Talking about Democracy and Justice The core idea of the short story is about demonstrating the polar life of two races: the African-American community and the white “nobility” that revels in money while the former cannot afford to have a decent life. People from disenfranchised locales can have varying understandings of the situation that they are in. Tenably worse is resigning about the immutability this situation, however dismal or dejected it is. Even actually existing social inequalities can thus be seen as an evident reality if seen from a certain perspective. The aim of the short story “The Lesson” is to demonstrate that monopolism, racial, social, and financial injustice is to be fought against if future generations are to live happily. Toni Bambara’s The Lesson shows how young people’s ways of looking at things—not necessarily juvenile or immature—can clash with efforts to ‘enlighten’ them. As Miss More, the person with the “goddamn college degree,” tries to teach Sylvia and her friends about inequalities in America, she only meets the curious ways by which the children look at things and potential possessions (Bambara 1). The reaction of the children on Miss More’s education is a proof of the fact that not all the social classes are aware of the importance of education. Furthermore, the fact that he children marvel not just at the things they see at the store but perhaps more vitally, at their prices, is another proof to the fact that many people
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